May 17, 2022

Alessandro Del Piero backs new Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo to ‘do even better than Zinedine Zidane

Alessandro Del Piero has backed former team-mate Andrea Pirlo to be successful in his new role as manager of Juventus — saying he can ‘do even better than Zinedine Zidane’.   The legendary midfielder was surprisingly announced as the new boss of the Italian giants on the same day former boss Mauricio Sarri was sacked following their Champions League last 16 exit to Lyon on Friday.  Pirlo was himself only given his first managerial role last week after being unveiled as the coach of the under-23’s side, but has now been thrust into the limelight of taking charge of the first team.   And despite Pirlo’s inexperience, his former team-mate Del Piero has backed him to thrive in the role after successes of other former players in Italy in recent years.  ‘To be honest, I wouldn’t have bet on him becoming the coach. It’s a surprise for me too,’ Del Piero told Sky Sport Italia.  ‘I was already pleased for him taking the Under-23 role and thought that was the right move for him, but he’s skipped ahead, so I can only wish him luck.  ‘I think the general perception of former players who become coaches is changing in Italy. Before, there was this need to go through a long process in the lower leagues to learn the trade, but in recent years we’ve seen Filippo and Simone Inzaghi succeed, plus Gennaro Gattuso. They were great players and started straight away with great teams.’   Pirlo is considered one of the greatest central midfielders of all time and won four consecutive Serie A titles as a Juve player between 2011 and 2015.  One of the most successful player to manager transitions in recent history has been Zidane, who has won three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles as manager of Real Madrid.  It is believed Juve president Andrea Agnelli believes Pirlo’s legendary playing status can command a similar immediate respect from players as Zidane had when he arrived at Madrid.   And Del Piero believes that, while the two situations are slightly different, there is no reason Pirlo can’t achieve even more.  ‘It’s not a fair comparison, because Zizou had already worked with the Real Madrid youth team and then was Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant manager, but Pirlo has everything it takes to do even better than Zidane,’ noted Del Piero.  ‘He already knows the club, the players, the directors, so I think they communicated in a very clear way.’

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